$16 million investment in first of its kind Canadian chronic disease research project

Cancer and cardiovascular organizations team up to improve the health of Canadians

TORONTO, Oct. 24, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the Heart and Stroke Foundation, are pleased to announce a $16 million investment in a first of its kind partnership between the cancer and cardiovascular research communities that will strengthen our understanding of chronic disease.

The Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds, with $14 million from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and $2 million from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, will build on the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project (CPTP), a pan-Canadian research platform, by expanding efforts to identify the early root causes that lead to chronic diseases of the brain, the heart and the cardiovascular system. 

"Nearly two-thirds of deaths in Canada are due to chronic diseases," said Dr. Heather Bryant, VP of Cancer Control at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.  "The data collected through the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project will help researchers better understand why some people develop these diseases while others don't.  Ultimately the research will make a difference in the lives of future generations."

This new investment will gather detailed information from about 10,000 Canadian participants on their environments, lifestyle and behaviours that could affect their cardiovascular health. Participants will also be assessed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the brain, blood vessels, heart and liver. Adding this to the health and biological information assembled over many years within CPTP will allow researchers to explore how these factors contribute to the development of chronic disease leading to heart failure and dementia.

Canadians in British Columbia (BC Generations Project), Alberta (The Tomorrow Project), Ontario (Ontario Health Study), Quebec (CARTaGENE), and Atlantic Canada (Atlantic PATH) have signed up to contribute to the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project which is supported by national and provincial cancer, healthcare and research organizations. To date, the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project has enrolled and will follow over time more than 285,000 participants aged 35-69 across the country.

The Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds research team led by Drs. Sonia Anand of McMaster University, Matthias Friedrich of the Montreal Heart Institute, and Jack Tu of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto was selected through a competitive process to lead the project's expansion into cardiovascular diseases. Canadians already participating in the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project, as well as other volunteer participants from the Montreal Heart Institute Biobank and the PURE cohort study, will be asked to contribute to this study.

"This project is a great way for Canadians to get involved in research that can really have an impact on their health," said Dr. Sonia Anand, one of the project co-leads.  "We will learn how ethnicity, lifestyle and environmental factors have an impact on the function of our heart, brain and blood vessels. This in turn, will allow our health professionals and governments to make informed decisions on health care for Canadians. Because of Canada's diverse geography and populations, this research will be unique internationally."

"This announcement is the result of more than two years of Heart and Stroke Foundation advocacy efforts related to the Canadian Heart Healthy Action Plan, and we're delighted this study is moving forward," said Bobbe Wood, President, Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Knowing the root causes of chronic disease addresses a huge gap in our research landscape and this new initiative is an important investment in the health of all Canadians. Every seven minutes a Canadian dies from heart disease or stroke, and this data will support future research teams for years to come and help the Foundation accomplish its mission of preventing disease, saving lives and promoting recovery. "

About the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer 

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer works with Canada's cancer community to reduce the burden of cancer on Canadians. Grounded in and informed by the experiences of those affected by cancer, the organization works with partners to support multi-jurisdictional uptake of evidence that will help to optimize cancer control planning and drive improvements in quality of practice across the country. Through sustained effort and a focus on the cancer continuum, the organization supports the work of the collective cancer community in achieving long-term population outcomes:  reduced incidence of cancer, less likelihood of Canadians dying from cancer, and an enhanced quality of life of those affected by cancer.

About the Heart and Stroke Foundation
The Heart and Stroke Foundation's mission is to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery. A volunteer-based health charity, we strive to tangibly improve the health of every Canadian family, every day. 'Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make it happen'. Heartandstroke.ca

SOURCE: Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

For further information:

Lenore Bromley
Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
Office: 416-915-9222 ext. 5781
Cell: 416-710-9294
lenore.bromley@partnershipagainstcancer.ca

Jane-Diane Fraser
Heart and Stroke Foundation
Office: (613) 569-4361 ext. 273
Cell: 613 406 3282
jfraser@hsf.ca


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